Overview - Surah 19: Maryam (Mary)

Surah Introduction

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The subject matter of this Surah is the true message and teachings of the Prophets of Allah.  Several Prophets are mentioned here: Zakariyya, Yahya, Isa and his mother Maryam, Ibrahim, Musa, Ismail and Idris -may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon all of them. Allah blessed these Prophets. They taught Tawhid and called their people to the worship of Allah alone.  Great miracles and signs were also shown in the lives of these Prophets and Messengers.


  1. Prophet Zachariah's prayer for a son.  Birth of John (Yahya) and Allah's favors upon him.
  2. Maryam -peace be upon her - and the miraculous birth of her son Jesus -peace be upon him.
  3. Prophet Ibrahim preached the unity of Allah.  His conversation with his father.
  4. Other great Prophets and Messengers of Allah.
  5. The Resurrection will surely happen.
  6. Criticism of misconceptions about intercession and the divinity of Jesus.

The Surah is named after Maryam, the mother of Isa [Jesus].

Allah's Messenger said, "Many amongst men attained perfection but amongst women none attained the perfection except Mary, the daughter of `Imran and Asiya, the wife of Pharaoh. And the superiority of `Aisha to other women is like the superiority of Tharid (i.e. an Arabic dish) to other meals." [Bukhari 3769]

There are 98 Ayat in this Surah.


Total Ayat98
Total Words *961
Root Words *252
Unique Root Words *10
Makki / MadaniMakki
Chronological Order* 44th (according to Ibn Abbas)
Year of Revelation* 5th year of Prophethood
Events during/before this Surah*
Physical beating and torture of some Muslims - 1st Migration of Muslims to Abyssinia, Public Invitation to Islam - Persecution of Muslims; antagonism - ridicule - derision - accusation - abuse and false propaganda., Revelation begins - Private Invitation to Islam , Revelation begins - Private Invitation to Islam , Revelation begins - Private Invitation to Islam
Events during/after still to occur*
2nd Migration to Abyssinia,Boycott of Banu Hashim Yr 1,Boycott of Banu Hashim Yr 2,Boycott of Banu Hashim Yr 3,Death of Abu Talib - Death of Khadijah - Stoning at Ta'if - al-Isra wal Mi'raj - Night Journey,1st Pledge of Aqabah,2nd Pledge of Aqabah,,Migration from Makkah to Madinah - Building of Masjid Nabi in Madinah - Treaty with Jews of Madinah - Marriage of Prophet to Aishah,Change of Qiblah from Jerusalem to Makkah - Battle of Badr,Battle of Uhud,,Battle of Ahzab - Expedition of Banu Quraydhah,Treaty of Hudaiybiyah - Letters to Kings and Rulers,,Conquest of Makkah - Battle of Hunain,Hajj led by Abu Bakr - Expedition of Tabuk,Farewell Hajj by Prophet - Death of Prophet - End of Divine Revelation
Names of Prophets Mentioned
Adam, Idris , Nuh, Ibrahim, Ismail, Ishaq, Yaqub, Musa, Harun, Zakariya, Yahya, Isa
Surah Index
Aaron, Abraham, Adam, Children, Disbelievers, Earth, Earth (condition of at the time of resurrection) , Hell, Iblis, Idris, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Jesus, Jesus (creation of) , Jesus (only a messenger) , Jesus (resurrection foretold) , John the Baptist, Judgement (Day) , Mary, Moses, Noah, Prayer (of Zachariah) , Record of personal deeds, Religion, Resurrection (Day) , Sinai Mt., Zachariah

Central Theme

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  • Theme 1: Rahmah [mercy] of Allah. The name of Allah, ar-Rahman (the Most Merciful) appears the most in Surah Maryam compared to any other Surah of the Qur'an, occuring 15 times. Surah Maryam is full of the mention of mercy (20 times - http://www.quran-wiki.com/ayatRoots.php?q=r); Rahmah of Allah towards Zakariyah in blessing him with a child in old age, Maryam seeks protection in ar-Rahman when she sees the unknown Man, Jannah is promised by ar-Rahman and ar-Rahman is one who bestows His Love on the Believer.
  • Theme 2: The importance of the inheritance of the Din [religion] from parent to their descendants: Like Zakariyah to his son, Yahyah and Maryam to her son, Isa. Also refer to (19:58)

Jesus Christ is not the Son of God and before introducing the story of Jesus and Mary, the birth of John the Baptist [Yahyah] to Zakariyah is mentioned to show how a figure of history living in the very era of Jesus was also a miraculous birth - being born to very elderly parents. A number of Prophets are mentioned in this Surah and all of them are very familiar to Christians. This is to remind them that the underlying message all of them lived and preached was that of obedience and submission to the One true God. Hence, Christians are being invited to give up the belief in Trinity and accept and follow the unadulterated Tawheed [Oneness of God]. 

Connection of the name of the Surah and its Ayaat

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Connection between the beginning and the ending of the Surah

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Manuscripts / Inscriptions

Connection of the Surah to the Surah before/after it

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  • Warning to the Christians - The begining of Surah al-Kahf there is a warning to those who claim divinity to Jesus; وَيُنذِرَ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا اتَّخَذَ اللَّـهُ وَلَدًا "And to warn those who say, "Allah has taken a son." [18:4] - This warning is followed by a Surah on Mary and the birth of Jesus - a lesson in the true Oneness of God. Allah says in this Surah, مَا كَانَ لِلَّـهِ أَن يَتَّخِذَ مِن وَلَدٍ "It is not [befitting] for Allah to take a son..." [19:35] and تَكَادُ السَّمَاوَاتُ يَتَفَطَّرْنَ مِنْهُ وَتَنشَقُّ الْأَرْضُ وَتَخِرُّ الْجِبَالُ هَدًّا ﴿٩٠﴾ أَن دَعَوْا لِلرَّحْمَـٰنِ وَلَدًا "The heavens almost rupture therefrom and the earth splits open and the mountains collapse in devastation, That they attribute to the Most Merciful a son." [19:90-91]

The Virtues of the Surah

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Special Features of the Surah

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  • Something unique to this Surah is the phrase, "وَاذْكُرْ فِي الْكِتَابِ" Make mention in the Book...." in introducing the stories of Maryam, Ibrahim, Musa, Ismail and Idrees. It is repeated 5 times. 

Important key and unique words of the Surah

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  • The Name of Allah 'ar-Rahman' appears more times in this Surah then any other Surah. It occurs 15 times in this Surah.
  • Rahmah - This Surah has the highest frequency of words derived from R-H-M compared to any other Surah [confirmation needed]
  • (19:58) is the longest Ayat of this Surah with 29 words and this is also an Ayat of prostration,

    أُولَـٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ اللَّـهُ عَلَيْهِم مِّنَ النَّبِيِّينَ مِن ذُرِّيَّةِ آدَمَ وَمِمَّنْ حَمَلْنَا مَعَ نُوحٍ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّةِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْرَائِيلَ وَمِمَّنْ هَدَيْنَا وَاجْتَبَيْنَا ۚ إِذَا تُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتُ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ خَرُّوا سُجَّدًا وَبُكِيًّا "Those were the ones upon whom Allah bestowed favor from among the prophets of the descendants of Adam and of those We carried [in the ship] with Noah, and of the descendants of Abraham and Israel, and of those whom We guided and chose. When the verses of the Most Merciful were recited to them, they fell in prostration and weeping." (19:58)
Total Word Count per Ayat (shows how many words per Ayat) = 10*

Unique Root Words to this Surah only

10 unique root words that do not appear in any other Surah *

Top 10 Most Frequent Root Words used in this Surah

Root Word Frequency
in Surah
in Qur'an
ك و ن 43 1390
ق و ل 28 1722
ر ب ب 23 980
ر ح م 20 339
ي و م 13 405
ع ب د 12 275
ٱلَّذِى 12 1464
ج ع ل 11 346
أ ت ي 10 549
أ ل ه 10 2851

Period of Revelation

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It was revealed before the first migration to Abyssinia. We learn from an authentic hadith that Ja’afar (a companion of the Prophet) recited v. 1-40 of this Surah to the court of the Negus when the Muslims had been summoned.

Background Reasons for Revelation

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Relevant Hadith

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  • ".....The Negus said to Ja’far, “Do you have with you anything from what your Messenger brought from Allah to read to me?” Ja’far said, “Yes,” and recited Surah Maryam from memory....King Negus listened to the recitation of the Qur’an and cried so much that his beard was wet....The Negus said, “Of a truth, this and what Musa brought, come from the same niche. You two may go, for by Allah, I will never give them up and they shall not be betrayed.” [Abridged from Musnad Ahmad - Hasan]


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  • Story of Zakariya (Zachariah) and the birth of Prophet Yahya (John) pbuh.
  • Story of Maryam (Mary) and the miraculous birth of Prophet Isa (Jesus) pbuh.
  • Prophet Isa's address to his people from his cradle.
  • The fact that Isa (Jesus), pbuh, is not the son of Allah (God), and that it is not befitting to the Majesty of Allah that He needs a son (i.e. for name, fame, help or continuity of race).
  • Story of Prophet Ibrahim (pbuh) and his mushrik father.
  • The fact that all Prophets of Allah were divinely guided and chosen people.
  • Life of the believers and the nonbelievers in this world and in the Hereafter.
  • Those who say, "Allah has begotten a son," preach such a monstrous lie that if they could hear it; the heavens would crack, the earth would split and the mountains would crumble to pieces.
  • Allah has made the Qur'an easy for mankind.
  • The fear Ibrahim had for his father's safety and the inevitable punishment should he die as a disbeliever in Allah.
  • Steadfastness upon faith is one of the ways to achieve the Love of Allah (19:96)

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Miscellaneous Issues

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